Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) has responded positively to a charge given in 2007 by portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, to ensure that rural communities are given priority in the supply of water.
  • An agency of the Ministry of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government, the company has undertaken and completed some 19 major rural water projects at a cost of more than $2.2 billion, and several other minor supply systems.
  • These systems have brought much life to the communities involved, including : Buxton Town, Johns Groin, and Colbeck/Red Ground in St. Catherine; James Hill, Clarendon; Dublin Castle, St. Andrew; Fruitful Vale, Portland; Hill Sixty, St. Thomas; Bottom Coffee Grove, Manchester; Broadgate, St. Mary;  Darliston  to New Roads, Westmoreland, and Catadupa, St. James.

The Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) has responded positively to a charge given in 2007 by portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, to ensure that rural communities are given priority in the supply of water.

An agency of the Ministry of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government, the company has undertaken and completed some 19 major rural water projects at a cost of more than $2.2 billion, and several other minor supply systems.

These systems have brought much life to the communities involved, including : Buxton Town, Johns Groin, and Colbeck/Red Ground in St. Catherine; James Hill, Clarendon; Dublin Castle, St. Andrew; Fruitful Vale, Portland; Hill Sixty, St. Thomas; Bottom Coffee Grove, Manchester; Broadgate, St. Mary;  Darliston  to New Roads, Westmoreland, and Catadupa, St. James.

“Rural Water Supply Limited has adopted a ‘can do’ attitude to the task at hand, and is doing a sterling job in bringing potable water to the residents of these communities,” Minister Chang says.

The Minister asserts that there is a link between treated water and the health and socio-economic well-being of citizens, and “it is connection that is uppermost in the mind of this Government, as water is not only a basic human need, but its availability is an important foundation for economic development.”

Key roles of the agency are:  to determine and keep under constant review the nation’s need for potable water supply; conceive and develop solutions to potable water supply needs, and review and implement solutions for the nation’s irrigation needs.

Prior to the 2009 completion of the Fruitful Vale water supply scheme, many of the 5,000 residents had to travel up to one mile to fetch water at a catchment area. With the $28 million system now in place, “we don’t have this problem of having to travel and fetch water,” says a resident of the area, Kevin Wynter, in an interview with JIS News.

“Since they installed the new system, what we have now is a consistent flow of water. Water is life, and everybody is happy, because life was really hard. With the system now in place, a person can turn on the tap and get water. It has improved our lives immensely,” Mr. Wynter adds.

Minister Chang has emphasised that water provides for sustainable development within communities, such as farming; and the establishment of new businesses. “The result is a higher standard of living for the resident,” he argues.

“Reliable water supply is critical to the quality of life of the entire economy of the communities. When there is running water at a primary school, teachers can focus on their work, parents in the community can send their children to that school, and it gives an opportunity to build the character of that school,” the Minister says.

Commenting on the $30 million upgraded James Hill water supply system, in Clarendon, done by the RWSL, Principal of the Claude McKay High School, Glennor Wilson, tells JIS News that with a reliable water supply in the area, the school has stopped spending money to truck water to the school. “Our quality of life has been enhanced,” the Principal says.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chang says the provision of potable water to meet the needs of the rural population is a focal point for his administration. “Our vision for the development of water related infrastructure and supply span the length and breadth of this island, and is encapsulated in the Ministry’s vision that all households will have access to water by 2015.”

For Member of Parliament for North West Clarendon, Michael Stern, who has pumped some $12 million through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), to develop minor water supply schemes for over 5,000 residents, he says the RWSL is transparent in its work, and completes projects within budget and on time.

“They are efficient and they are reliable. They have helped me with a water service here that serves some 10 communities. When I give them the CDF money, they act on it. And, I am pleased that when I ask to get something done, I can cut through the red tape, and I will continue to utilise them,” Mr. Stern says.

After the completion of water projects, the RWSL hands them over to Parish Councils, National Water Commission (NWC), and community based organisations for operation and administration.

“I have every confidence in the ability of Rural Water Supply Limited to fulfill its mission to increase the supply to our rural communities,” Minister Chang tells JIS News.

It is estimated that Jamaica will be using more than 41 per cent of its reliable safe yield of freshwater by 2015.

Under Vision 2030 Jamaica, “Water is considered a fundamental strategic resource that is not only necessary for improved quality of life for our population, but also one which could provide us with a competitive advantage. The Plan recognises the importance of sanitation and hygiene to support human health, protect ecosystems and reduce poverty.”

This is contained in the Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework document for 2009-2012, produced by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

Vision 2030 Jamaica is the country’s first long-term National Development Plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to achieve developed country status by 2030.  It is based on a comprehensive vision:  “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, works, raise families and do business.”

Skip to content